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Review: Blood in the Snow

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Blood in the Snow  by Sarah Pennington  was a recent recommendation that combines two stories about princesses in dire circumstances-- "The Goose Girl" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."  The title makes it sound more violent than it actually is. It refers to blood magic that the royal family wields in this Asian fantasy setting. The main character is more of a damsel in distress  than most modern adaptations of these stories, but she uses her powers to even out the odds. It's a short and sweet book that combines both popular fairy tales with Asian culture. Princess Baili is a gentle princess who rarely raises her voice and never wishes harm upon anyone. So, when her servants stop paying attention to her on a journey to a foreign kingdom, she tries not to complain. She is confused, but it is only after the royal caravan arrives at their destination that she demands to know why everyone is ignoring their princess. That is when she learns that her stepmother

Princess Peach Has the Spotlight in the New Mario Trailer!

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When I heard that Illumination was teaming up with Nintendo to make a Super Mario Bros. movie ,  my first thought was "Well, it can't possibly be worse than that live-action one ." I'm far from a hardcore Mario Bros. fanatic, but I have cosplayed as Princess Peach and recently reviewed her game , so there is some interest there. Unfortunately, the initial teaser trailer  did not show the classic pink and blonde princess at all, so I had little interest in learning more about it. All of that changed when the second trailer released yesterday, and Peach was all over the place. She has significantly more dialogue in this trailer than Mario himself, so there's a lot to dive into. Let's get started. Right off the bat, I love that this movie keeps the brightly colored cartoony feel of the games, something that is impossible to capture in live-action. Illumination is not exactly known for their stellar animation, but their comical designs are a good match for the

Review: Time Princess - The Apothecary

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This latest visual novel in Time Princess  is the biggest drain on resources in the game yet. With four chapters requiring players to boost their companions to level eight, and an average of 60 of each required clothing item for crafting, it seems like the developers have caught on to hoarders like me who have saved up loads of in-game currency over the years. Fortunately, the story, characters, and fashions in The Apothecary make it well worth the effort. While a bit late for Halloween, this story has a pleasant witchy vibe to it with a protagonist who collects mystical ingredients and brews up magic potions in a crucible. The visual novel contains the perfect amount of romance, magic, and suspense in a fully fleshed-out fantasy world. The leading lady in The Apothecary is Emelia Farrow, a humble apothecary who is desperate to maintain her place in the guild so she doesn't lose her shop. She struggles to stay in the good graces of her trainer, Greta, while facing off against the w

Story Saturday: The Princess of the Golden Roof

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Instead of using my card game , I decided to do something similar to what I did with  "The Princess and the Shadow"  in which I took a fairy tale that I wasn't very fond of with a princess who had no agency (unlike many false Disney criticisms ) and attempt to rewrite it from the princess's perspective with a better ending. This week, I will try to tackle "Faithful Johannes" (also known as "Trusty John"), a story that I consider the most disturbing Brothers Grimm fairy tale of all time, to make it more appealing to female audiences. "The Princess of the Golden Roof" Once upon a time, a beautiful princess named Orla was always surrounded by gold. She lived in a golden castle, dressed in golden gowns, and wore all sorts of golden jewelry and tiaras. She was not particularly fond of gold, but her great uncle, King Midas, had suffered a curse that turned his entire estate and everything in it to gold. When he gave his daughter a hug and tur

Review: Beyond the Tiara

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In the early 2000s, I purchased a thin hardcover book entitled Disney Princess: The Essential Guide  because I felt it was important to have the reference materials to back it up my princess fan status. At that time, there were only six official Disney Princesses , and the brand was still fairly new. Since then, the Disney Princess brand has exploded  into a corporate empire that has kept my blog alive and thriving for over five years. So it seemed like a good time for an upgrade. Beyond the Tiara  by Emily Zemler  is a nearly 200-page long coffee table textbook that puts The Essential Guide  to shame. It contains quotes, concept art, memorabilia, and other Disney Princess facts that make it the most comprehensive guide on the market for the Disney Princess brand today. Plus, it has a sparkly holographic cover. This book contained everything I was hoping for and more. It covers each and every aspect of the Disney Princess brand from conception to reception. Just about everything that I

Review: Disenchanted

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Fifteen years after the premiere of the one-of-a-kind Disney Princess tribute film, Enchanted , Disney has released the next chapter with its latest direct-to-streaming sequel, Disenchanted . While direct-to-streaming is the modern-day equivalent of the direct-to-video sequels of the past, this one could have easily been a theatrical release due to the grand scale of its cinematography that made its thematic direct-to-streaming predecessor  Godmothered  feel like a cheap imitation. While it may not have been perfect, the plot of Disenchanted  is a natural progression of Giselle's life from when the first movie left off with a relatable message for today's audiences , who have a decade and a half more life experience than they did when they saw the original. Disenchanted  has a bit of a rocky start with Giselle's sidekick, Pip, telling his children that more happened after the first movie as though he is trying to convince the audience that it was necessary to make a sequel

Review: A Kiss and a Dare

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I received a review copy of A Kiss and Dare  by Charlene Raddon  and completed it just in time to write my review on National Princess Day (Happy National Princess Day, by the way). This book is a fairytale izekai, or "portal fantasy," story , a genre that has exploded in popularity, in which a character from one world is transported to another one that they are unfamiliar with. Typically, the character is either from the real world or travels to it. In this case, it is the latter. The timing of this review is particularly appropriate because  Disenchanted  comes on on Disney+ today, which is the sequel to another fairytale izekai film . A Kiss and a Dare is actually more of a time travel story than a full portal fantasy, but the lines between fantasy and reality get blurry when you throw magic into the mix. Gwenlyn is a young Welsh woman from the medieval era who was cursed by a witch to become a frog, and she can only break the spell by kissing her true love. It isn't

Disney Returns to the Realm of Enchancia!

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Now that Sofia the First  has come home to Disney+ , Disney has shared a big announcement today to celebrate the show's 10th anniversary . Sofia the First  is getting a new spinoff ! Series creator Craig Gerber  announced earlier today "I am excited to be continuing my creative partnership with both Alyssa and Disney Branded Television. Together, we have produced three meaningful, diverse shows, and I am looking forward to broadening the scope of our collaboration while also championing new voices. It’s particularly thrilling to return to the enchanted world of ‘Sofia the First,’ where it all began 10 years ago, and create a follow-up series that is just as magical." The announcement comes as a surprise at a time when Disney Junior seemed to have been straying away from its princess properties. It is not entirely clear whether the spinoff will feature the same characters as the original series as teenagers/young adults or a new cast of younger students attending Royal Pre

Review: The Golden Princess

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Melanie Cellier's Four Kingdoms series  was my first introduction to the world of indie fairy tale retellings. The Princess Companion  got me started on a mission to read as many fairy tale adaptations written by independent authors as I could and even to try writing some of my own . Since then, Melanie's Four Kingdoms series has expanded from one series of fairy tales into three and includes over a dozen books that each cover a different princess and take place in the world of the Four Kingdoms. Normally, I find Melanie Cellier's books easy to follow, but there was something off about this new one that I couldn't quite pinpoint. The Golden Princess  is a retelling of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" that ties into the new kingdom discovered in The Desert Princess , the previous book in the Return to the Four Kingdoms series. Whether it's books, television, or film, when a series goes on for too long, it reaches a point where it loses its charm. The Gold

Story Saturday: The Princess and the Poet

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"The Princess and the Poet" Once upon a time, there was a quiet princess named Mary. It wasn't that Mary was shy. She actually had a lot to say, but she was cursed by a fairy as a baby to only be able to speak if the words rhyme. It was common in her kingdom for fairies to curse princesses in order to guarantee they would one day marry. The king and queen thought this was the most innocuous of the options the fairy provided for their daughter to find love, so they agreed to it. While Mary was a prolific writer, she was awful at poetry. She soon became known as the silent princess. One day, Princess Mary went to the market to purchase a new quill. This was something she did often. She went through many quills trying to make rhymes that didn't work and crossing them out, smearing ink everywhere and breaking the sharp tip of the quill. The shopkeeper, who knew her well, had a rare gift for her during this visit. "It was the strangest thing," he said. "I wa

Review: Sands of Deceit

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Few authors are able to pump out lengthy fantasy novels with fantastic character and world-building as quickly as Celeste Baxendell . The latest book in her Bewitching Fairy Tales series is Sands of Deceit , an adaptation of "King Thrushbeard" and "Bluebeard," two lesser-known fairy tales that rarely get adaptations. I was pleased that this story was a direct tie-in to my favorite of her books, Cinders of Glass . Instead of a sweet, naive, and reckless protagonist like Liora, this book is about the "mean girl" who bullied her, Lady Gisele, who is equally relatable in entirely different ways. Gisele is cold, calculating, and worldly with an unexpected vulnerability at her core. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her redemption arc, especially since it reminded me of one of my own books, The Stolen Slipper . Lady Gisele has just about given up on her chances of succeeding in life. She comes from a ruined family, and to top it all off, the prince she was seeking

Review: Time Princess - Sisters of the Sea

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Everything's coming up mermaids!  I just finished the final book in the amazing  Vazula Chronicles  the same week that Time Princess finally released the mermaid visual novel I had been waiting for. "Sisters of the Sea" draws heavy inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid,"  but it is not the same story. Since the majority of it takes place on land, the game failed to provide any mermaid clothing or even mermaid-inspired outfits, opting instead for a more historically authentic Danish look from the period that the story takes place. The mermaids were a big draw for me, but I wouldn't consider this the most well-written story in the game , nor was it  one of the worst . "Sisters of the Sea" puts the player character in the role of Ondine, the little mermaid's sister, who turns human with some help from the Sea Wizard and travels to land in the hopes of restoring the soul of her sister, Marin. In this version, the merma